Tigers agree to terms with Porcello, Coke
Both arbitration-eligible pitchers get a one-year deal apiece
DETROIT -- The Tigers began a week of expected arbitration deals by agreeing to terms with two of their arbitration-eligible pitchers. Detroit agreed to terms on one-year contracts with right-hander Rick Porcello and left-hander Phil Coke on Monday.
Porcello, eligible for arbitration for the first time after nearly three full seasons in the Tigers rotation, agreed to a $3.1 million deal. Coke will earn $1.1 million, with another $50,000 possible in incentives -- $25,000 each for 65 and 70 appearances, or $25,000 each for 15 and 25 starts.
Porcello was eligible for arbitration for the first time as a super-2 player, not getting the three full seasons to be eligible under traditional rules but having enough time short of three seasons to qualify. He has four more seasons before he's eligible for free agency, so the motivation to sign him to a long-term deal was minimal. The Tigers usually pursue longer-term deals when a pitcher is either eligible for a second time or two years away from free agency, which usually happen in the same winter.
Porcello's first pro contract out of the 2007 Draft actually covered his 2012 season, but with 38 wins in 89 starts over the last three years, he stood to make far more in arbitration than the $1,344,000 under terms of his contract. Thus, he exercised his right to opt out of his deal earlier this month and go through the arbitration process.
The arbitration filing process continues through Wednesday, after which teams and unsigned players exchange figures. Those numbers usually provide a midpoint where teams and players can agree to settle.
Porcello has two 14-9 records in his three Major League seasons, including this past season. He threw a career-best 182 innings in 31 starts last year, averaging just under six innings per start while posting a 4.75 ERA. His 104 strikeouts also marked a career high.
Coke was eligible for arbitration for the first time after three full seasons, the last two of them in Detroit following his trade from the Yankees. He split last year between the Tigers' rotation and bullpen, with a 1-8 record and 4.82 ERA as a starter before reprising his role as a left-handed reliever and occasional setup man. He played a big role in the Tigers' postseason run.
The Tigers have three arbitration cases left, with Max Scherzer, Delmon Young and Don Kelly. Young's case figures to be the most intriguing, being eligible for a third time and coming off a season that had a rough start but a strong finish, with a trade in between.